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Urban Fantasy

Discussion in 'Role-play Corner' started by Rotku, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. Rotku

    Rotku I believe I can fly Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Can anyone recommend a good Urban Fantasy setting and/or ruleset?

    The only ones I've stumbled across currently are Urban Arcana (d20 modern) and Dreaming Cities (Tri-Stat), both of which I'm not overly keen on the rulesets. Recommendations?
     
  2. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    Shadowrun, it's a cyberpunk setting with magic and fantasy races thrown in. It is edited by Fasa. The universe is very interesting and the system is fun and not too complicated. Fantasy races are more like mutants and you've got elves, dwarves, trolls, etc. and also many fantastic creatures that are well integrated into the setting.

    An old game that may be suitable is Torg by West End Games. It's a multiverse setting so you can get pretty much anything. France is transformed into a cybernetic society ruled by the Catholic church, England is a medieval fantasy setting, The US and Canada have been transformed into a prehistoric jungle with dinosaurs, etc. What is funny is that there are in game explanations for all these transformations. The ruleset is rather interesting with cards used to spice up the action.

    These are old games but since Urban Fantasy is a rather vague definition (at least to me) I hope this helps.
     
  3. Loreseeker

    Loreseeker A believer in knowledge Veteran

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    Cara covered the mainstream, but just in case you want to hack yourself a custom system... :)

    Some grateful rulesets for the type of game you have in mind:

    Don't Rest Your Head - Elegant, Quick and Spiraling to Doom (also, adjusts extremely well to different adaptations) One of my favourites.

    Ghost/Echo - extremely flexible system core which lets you concentrate on specific game aspects - gives very focused scenes - (which can be both good and bad) - but with right themes should fit like a glove.

    and there's always The Pool :) Pretty much everything can run on it.

    If you're looking for heavier rulesets, skills and char building to infinity... I'm rather out of my depth. You could probably adjust either TSoY or Sufficiently Advanced to do what you want... although Sufficiently Advanced... hmm... might be best left alone.
     
  4. Rotku

    Rotku I believe I can fly Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Thanks for the answers guys. Loreseeker, I absolutely love Don't Rest Your Head. Stumbled across it a year or so ago and it still seems fascinating reading it over even today. It's definitely one I want to play at some stage.

    To give a bit better idea of what I'm after, I'm planning a campaign based in our world as we know it today, yet with things going on in the background that 99% of us aren't aware of. Sort of like the world of Don't Rest Your Head. The PCs will start off as normal every day humans, but have options to progress into magic use or the sorts.
     
  5. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    Of course, if you've got your setting, you can use ANY ruleset that you like to play a game (only some tweaking is required). The rules are not that important, just get a system you like and adapt it so it works.

    That's my favourite way of starting out a game for Vampire or the World of Darkness or Call of Cthulhu.

    When the players don't know that you're actually using the rules of that game they're in for a surprise when their normal everyday characters get into supernatural situations.

    If you're looking for a good game in a modern urban setting you could have a look at Kult (Swedish horror game but in this setting pretty much anything goes).

    Another game I'm thinking about is In Nomine (the French original is called In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas) in which you play angels or demons fighting the opposition undercover. The original French game also features Sorcerers, Vikings, Psionicists, Voodoo practicioners, renegade angels and demons...

    There is another French game called Scales that features a modern day setting with dragons and fantastic creatures. Very good and very much RP oriented. I don't think it's been translated though.

    What about the Ambre Diceless RPG? Based on Zelazny's novels. Playing immortals fighting for powers in different realities.

    Unknown Armies is another possibility. It was made by Call of Cthulhu fans and it features horrific and supernatural adventures in a modern world setting.

    I should also add Nephilim to the list. In this game you play powerful supernatural entities that are reincarnated into human beings living in a sort of symbiosis with their hosts. It dwells a lot on secret societies and their struggle for knowledge and power. It's based on Chaosium's Basic RPG ruleset and it has been translated into English.

    The list could probably go on. You should use the rules you feel the most comfortable with, make a few alterations and get started. Just don't tell your players that their characters are going to face supernatural entities. Have them create ordinary characters for a mundane real world setting and start your game. They won't expect supernatural elements and you'll have some incredible fun with this game. :thumb:
     
  6. Loreseeker

    Loreseeker A believer in knowledge Veteran

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    Or the game will fall apart magnificently, because there'll be a group of people that never wanted to play with supernatural, but came for guns, gloom and all that jazz. Just saying.
    Sure, the group might bounce into it and have a great time, but that's not guaranteed.

    Surprising the players is overrated, imo. Surprising the characters is what matters. Having all players on the same page and fueling the story to what everyone wants it to become - that's fun.

    Otherwise, the theme song of the game easily dies out unheard.

    If the mood isn't shared (or easily induced, at least) - quit while you're ahead.
     
  7. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    I get what you're saying but there is no need for being so negative and gloomy as that really depends on the players.

    I don't play pnp RPGs with strangers. Last time I did was a disaster because you always have some rule lawyer or some munchkin ready to spoil everything (or some conceited GM with control issues who does a really bad job). I don't mind playing with beginners that much though because they don't have the bad habits that experienced RPers may have picked up. They don't try to translate everything the GM does to get out of character information or base their decisions on things that are happening outside the game. An experienced player is often trying to second guess the GM and that is boring. I know that my regular players no longer try to do this (they know it's pointess) but it never fails to happen when I play with an experienced player who doesn't know me.

    Rotku probably knows his players well enough to tell if that would work.

    As for me I stand by my previous statement. Surprising the players is fun and it can make for a very interesting game in which the characters won't necessarily be tailored for supernatural stuff (and in my books that only makes a game better). Trust me on that point, if you want the characters to be surprised then you have to surprise the players.

    As far as things being guaranteed... This is RPing we're talking about. There are no such things as guarantees as far RPing is concerned. That's what makes it fun. If players want guarantees then they get into theatre, drama and stuff like that, not RPing.
     
  8. Loreseeker

    Loreseeker A believer in knowledge Veteran

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    And here I was trying to cut down on happy smilies that usually litter my posts... :p

    I understand how the transformation of a regular human to superhuman whatever could be fun if it's surprising everyone, but unless done right, it's almost overriding a char concept. (Almost, mind you)

    I'm not necessarily being negative and gloomy - it's merely an opinion. I'm not saying it never works and in game it might even be ok, but surprising the players about the whole point of the game you'll be playing? Good luck. I know I'd never do it.

    The thing is, very few people will play just about anything, anytime, with no regards to the mood they're in. Some days you want a lovely fairytale, another a fast paced backstabbing game, the third you're a super, fourth you're happy just to build a world.

    I know if I came for say, a sci-fi char-based serious game, I wouldn't be very happy if the GM evolved it into Gothic Horror, or a fluffy comedy. Theme songs matter.

    Game evolving naturally according to the mood of people participating - that's perfectly acceptable, though.

    I certainly wouldn't be able to create a blank character without some knowledge of what the game wants to be. Ending up with a character whose buttons aren't pushed is a waste of time.

    Of course there are no guarantees in RP, but that doesn't mean that one shouldn't try to make it as efficient and successful as possible. Blundering into a game is not a good idea, generally.

    There are only two people in the world that I'd RP anything with, theme wise.

    Hmm... this is getting sort-of serious. I'll stop stealing Rotku's thread now. (sorry)

    If you like, let's move it to PM, Cara? :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  9. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    Let's not hijack the thread Lore. We disagree but I've already said it depended on the players. If they're a nice bunch they can enjoy a twist. I know I would. ;)

    It also depends on the GM. Once you've earned your group's trust they will probably agree to play almost anything with you as a GM.

    Anyway, let's not get sidetracked with the whole debate. I can tell you I've done what I suggested above before and it worked wonderfully well. But once again, I don't believe in having anything engraved in marble, improvisation is all a GM needs (and let me tell you that improvising when it's done well has nothing to do with blundering).

    But that is another debate.
     
  10. Rotku

    Rotku I believe I can fly Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Feel free to keep the discussion going here - got no problems with that. It's interesting.

    Purchased a pdf version of Unknown Armies a couple of days ago (I love how the RPG industry has gone digital... just waiting for WotC to return), and have been reading over that. It sounds just the sort of system I'm after. Thanks a lot for your advice guys :)
     
  11. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    Unknown Armies is a great game. The authors also wrote The Unspeakable Oath a magazine for Call of Cthulhu RPG and focused on the Cthulhu Mythos. Awesome stuff.
     
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